Laptop, interface & burner needed for friend wanting to

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Antho, Jul 7, 2005.

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  1. Antho

    Antho Guest


    I have a friend that needs a Laptop for audio. I know much about PC's (boxes) but little about the laptop world.

    We are looking for something around $600-800 US. Something not latest and best, but not old and crap either :)

    Doesn't have to be insane, just roadworthy and solid, and able to run at least 24 audio tracks with plugs, and some synths. Or 16 VST's (synths) and a couple of audio tracks). Needs to be able to vary between an electronic music machine and a portable multitrack record/mixdown machine.

    Could be a spec, a model name name and number etc...

    I also need a two mic pre in interface that runs off USB or firewire (no xternal power). I was thinking presonus firebox, but it need power. so something similar, but able to be powered by the laptop. pref: two mic ins and two line ins..but open to anything at this stage. also considered the MOTU traveler, but too pricey and to many I/O at this stage.

    Finally, an external DVD burner. this is to go between the PC and the laptop.

    I'd like to think i'm pretty up to date with PC's in general for DAW purposes...but not laptops! Any help would be immensely appreciated!

    Many thanks
  2. RTex

    RTex Guest

    Just read your post. I'm in the same situation. Trying to decide on a laptop for a DAW home studio. I've learned that it's probably not a good idea to choose a laptop with integrated graphics that utilizes the computer's RAM ("shared memory"). Also, generally speaking, if you are talking about PC not MAC, it's probably best to get something that is at least 1.5 or 1.6 GHZ CPU speed and not a Celeron CPU. Centrino is best I've read ( a style of Pentium) or maybe an AMD 64 CPU. Ohter issues include needing an external firewire hard drive dedicated to recording and other DAW functions, while leaving the internal hard drive for applications and OS, getting a good quality interface (external sound card) for audio recording (NOT USB). This could be either PMCIA (like the new EMU1616 or the Echo Indigo IO) or Firewire (like Maudio 410, Presonus Firebox, Focusrite Saffire). I don't think you can install PCI cards in any laptop so PCI cards would be out. It's okay to use USB 2.0 for a midi interface if the audio interface doesn't come with midi in/out capability. If you go with PMCIA inteface, then you have to worry about the model of PMCIA controller used inside the laptop (see EMU website on this). Also, if you go with firewire interface, then you have to consider if the firewire connector on your laptop is four or six plug. I think many are only four plug. The interface would still work with the four plug firewire connector but only if the interface has the option of using an AC adapter for power since you can only go with laptop power to run the iinterface if the firewire connector is a six plug. Then with some laptops there is a quiestion as to whether the motherboard chipset is compatible with the sequencer software you are going to use (e.g. Cubase, Sonar, etc.- see Cubase website on this). A lot to deal with, I know. Now I see why many people just simply go with a Mac laptop. Little to configure and few incompabitibilty issues to consder. I currenlty already have a HP laptop with a dedicated video card and a 1.8GHZ (non Celeron) processor in my family. It's my wife's and she is willing to switch to another (cheaper) laptop and let hers be used for the DAW laptop. It cost around $1100 after rebates from COMPUSA this past Christmas. Yet, after getting all this info from various sites on line, I still don't know what interface and sequencer software combo will work well with the HP we already have, if any at all. You could go to EMU's website. They list laptops that are compatible with their new interface. I have the feeling after all my research that it will be very difficult to find a laptop under $1000 that will be good enough as a DAW "brain center", even for a small home studio. You may have to look hard at used or refurb stuff to get something in your price range that will be good enough to do the trick. I will keep an eye on your posts.

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